Tenants want out after 1 mo into the lease. Am I entitled to the deposit?

Tenants call to tell me they have remorse and want to move out after 1 month into a 1 yr lease. Am I entitled to keep their deposit?

What does your lease say for the penalty of breaking the lease early? Mine says early termination of the lease will result in a penalty equal to two months of rent.
Check your local LL/tenant laws to be sure if there is a limit to what you can collect as damages. I would say most likely you could keep their deposit unless there is some stupid rule saying you can’t. I remember renting an apartment before I got married. I went to the office and told the agent I was getting married and would be moving. They had the same rule I use now. I had to pay two extra months of rent to get out of the lease early.
If Section 8 tenants break the lease early, they’ll also lose their free ride…I mean Section 8 benefits.

Most likely yes if you have the appropriate clauses in your lease agreement. Mine has an abandonment clause that deals with this. I could potentially get a judgment for any amounts lost beyond the deposit due to vacancy and difference in new lease amount but I’d rather just cut a deal and get them out asap as don’t want a bitter tenant in my place. One time the guy got a job out of town 2 months before expiration so I let him out early and he was very helpful marketing early and so forth. Another was a chronic lying late paying check bouncing tenant who I finally did a pay or quit notice on then she paid up and gave 30 day notice, which I gladly took 3 months before lease expiration just because I was beyond done with her.

First time this has happened and nothing mentions if the tenant breaches the contract obligations. I just read it 3x. I guess I have to get a better lease agreement.

I usually tell them I will release them from the lease if they help me find and lease to a suitable tenant.

They need to show the house for you, and do touch ups on the wall, get it mowed, cleaned, etc. This time of year in my area I’ll have no problem getting it leased again and I am usually accomodating if they can mitigate my losses for me. If they just up and move out they get all the charges thrown at them.

They need to understand that you put significant effort and expense in advertising, showing the house, doing background checks, getting it leased, doing a check in, and assisting a new tenant in finding utility companies and getting situated. You did that with the intent of not having to do it again for a year, and now it’s all wasted. If they are decent people with a good reason then make this obvious and put conditions on it such that you end up the same as you would otherwise.

Good will will come back and help you later.